The Swiss National Bank (SNB) on Friday rejected calls from environmentalists to change its investment policy and stop investing in companies they believe pollute the planet.

Around a hundred campaigners gathered outside the SNB’s Annual General Meeting in Bern on Friday, securing the event tightly.

About 170 protesters also bought shares of the SNB so they could speak out against the central bank’s investments in companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Duke Energy and TotalEnergies.

The SNB has interests in these companies after investing nearly 200 billion Swiss francs ($223 billion) in foreign stocks with newly created money during a long campaign to weaken the franc.

“The SNB is a major investor in many companies related to climate change and can use this to influence them,” said Jonas Kampus, a member of Climate Alliance Switzerland.

“We want her to use her voice or sell her shares. The climate emergency is real and we cannot afford to ignore it.”

Hilda Nakabuye, a Ugandan climate change activist, said a pipeline project led by TotalEnergies has created a climate emergency in her country.

“SNB, stop funding our destruction,” she said.

But an attempt to reprimand the SNB’s Banking Council over the investments failed, with only 0.8% shareholder support.

SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan said that the central bank takes climate change seriously, but should not be distracted from its primary goal-ensuring price stability.

The SNB has already ruled out companies that mainly use coal to produce energy, he said, but did not completely abandon oil and gas companies because there was no consensus in Switzerland to support such a move.

About the author: Nick Schramm

Nick Schramm is tech savvy with strong engineering education behind. His interest in sciences helps the whole WeeklyNewsReview stuff to keep informed about various topics of the modern technology.

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